Vital win hauls Sidley from danger zone
SIDLEY United inched away from the lower reaches of the Sussex League top flight with a crucial 3-1 win at second-from-bottom Worthing United.
Victory saw the Blues stretch their advantage over Saturday's opponents to eight points and provided the perfect boost ahead of the Boxing Day derby at home to Rye United.
This was also their first success in the league for two months, a 2-0 defeat of Chichester City United in mid October being the last time they picked up all three points.
"We have had a few games postponed and played various cup games so you tend to forget that you might have lost the last three in a row in the league," said joint manager Andy Laskey. "We reminded the players of that before the game and they went out and put in a decent performance."
Sidley were forced into a couple of changes for the trip to the Robert Albon Memorial Ground. Dave Henham took over as sweeper behind Paul Henty and Nick Whiteman which allowed Owen Ball to return to his more usual position of right wing-back.
Behind them there was a first team debut, in the continued absence of Peter Newstead, for young goalkeeper Richard Abson-Bennett who Laskey said "looked very comfortable" between the posts.
The visitors went ahead after 17 minutes when Steve Morris' ball over the top released Jordan Wood who cut in from the left, beat a couple of defenders and unleashed a cracking drive from just inside the penalty area.
Another fine goal made it 2-0 before half time, this time Peter Baker was the architect with a stunning effort after a neat one-two at a free kick with Morris. Sidley had chances to increase their tally in the first half with Baker, Scott McDonald and Watson all going close.
Worthing gave themselves a glimmer of hope with a quarter of an hour remaining when Mark Price netted with a sweetly-struck shot into the bottom corner of Abson-Bennett's net.
But any thoughts of a comeback were cancelled out soon after when Henham capped a fine performance by getting the final touch at a corner and the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line before being cleared.
"It was a good win," Laskey went on. " We played very well in the first half. The second half wasn't as good but then again Worthing upped their game. We got pinned back a little bit but we defended very well."